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Woman Says She Is Receiving Death Threats After Killing Intrusive Bear

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An innocent black bear, who never bothered anyone. (Photo by Tom Reichner via Shutterstock)
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A mother claims she is receiving insults and the occasional death threat after having a bear that entered her home shot and killed. Julie Faith Strauja, 34, asked a friend to shoot and kill the bear after it wouldn't stop letting itself into her cabin, located in Forest Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains. She told the L.A. Times she made this decision after trying to get the bear to stay away via numerous other non-lethal methods. She locked up her trash, yelled at it, blasted it with a hose, and still the bear kept finding its way inside. Once it was even in her kitchen when came home, and another time it got in through a bathroom window. She said the bear even tried to attack her dog, and she worried for her three young children. Finally, Strauja obtained a depredation permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on July 30 to kill the bear and recruited a hunter to do the deed. On July 31 at about 2 a.m., the bear returned to Strauja's home and was fatally shot.

Andrew Hughan, a spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has defended Strauja's decision, saying that because the bear was inside her home, it satisfied "every requirement under state law and policy for it to be destroyed."

Still, Strauja says that others have not been so understanding. They've been walking by her house yelling things like "bear killer," or sending her threatening Facebook messages. She told the OC Register, "I've had death threats and my address posted all over social media." She showed the San Bernardino Sun a screenshot of a since-deleted Facebook post that gave her full address and read, "Contact me if you want to legally make their life a living hell."

There will be a meeting today at 6 p.m. at the Forest Falls Community Center with members of the Department of Fish and Wildlife to discuss how to those who live among wildlife can properly project themselves. The department recommends several ways to make sure bears stay away, such as keeping pet food indoors and storing garbage in bear-proof containers.